At the Rimini Expo Centre, Macfrut opened exceptionally well. Discussions started with the presentation of the Green House project, implemented in Ghana by VIS (International Volunteer Service for Development), an NGO that collaborates with the Salesian Congregation in Italy involved in the “Stop Tratta” (Stop Trafficking) campaign. “The focus session was dedicated to the great ideas launched by the agricultural sector to create prospects for future development,” said Renzo Piraccini, President of Macfrut.
Nico Lotta, President of VIS, explained the whole operation involving training in eco-sustainable agriculture as a feasible alternative in order to discourage migrants from leaving on boats and human trafficking. The didactic greenhouse was built in Ghana to allow teachers and young people to be trained with an alternative technique to the agricultural practice applied in many African states, which has tremendous consequences for rainforests, so that sustainable development can be ensured.
“We appeal to young people, potential migrants or returning migrants because we want them to understand that there are opportunities in their countries, in particular involving land and agriculture. Working even just with a few people is crucial, and we want to make sure these youngsters have the opportunity to choose,” Lotta said. The President of Idromeccanica Lucchini also gave a speech during the conference, illustrating the technological potential of a sustainable greenhouse, such as the one used by the Green House project in Ghana.
The Italian Undersecretary of State for European Affairs, MP Sandro Gozi, congratulated VIS and highlighted the importance of a project such as “Green House.” In fact, it is not only a symbol of Italian excellence but also the right approach to address the migration issue in the countries of origin. “These are simple and ingenious ideas that can make a difference in cooperation and development.”
Forum on Asian and Middle Eastern Markets
India, China and the UAE: these are all growing markets that are strongly inclined to import quality fruit. This was the key theme of the Asia & Middle East Conference, organised by Eurofresh Distribution.
During the meeting, the trends, marketing opportunities, limitations and recommendations in trading with the Asian and Middle Eastern markets were outlined. These markets all show an ever-increasing demand for imported fruit and vegetables, where consumers see their purchasing power grow and product quality becomes increasingly important.
Ahmed Alì, head of procurement of the Danube Supermarkets chain, and James Varghese, Purchase Manager of Elite Agro LCC, pointed out the positive trend in the UAE fresh produce market, which demands high quality and an efficient service.
Hitin Suri, Managing Director of Suri Agrofresh, illustrated the opportunities of the Indian market, which has a rapidly growing GDP, a boom in health trends and an interest in new varieties. Simona Rubbi of the CSO (Centro Servizi Ortofrutticoli) cooperative of Ferrara also intervened to highlight the need for European coordination on the export of fruit and vegetable produce to Asian countries. To conclude, Mike Li of CR Vanguard, George Liu of Fruta Cloud and Paul Sheh of Hema Supermarket gave an overview of China’s situation, where e-commerce is becoming increasingly popular also in the fresh produce sector.
Innovative Companies Awarded with Macfrut Innovation Award
A total of 36 innovations were awarded with the Macfrut Innovation Award (MIA) 2017 during a ceremony organized by Cesena Fiera in partnership for the third year in a row with L’Informatore Agrario, the weekly publication for professional farmers. Innovation, environmental and economic sustainability and improvement in product quality: these are the criteria used by a panel of experts to review the over 80 applications submitted by Italian and foreign companies for the eight award sections. Altogether nine gold, 15 silver and 12 bronze medals were awarded.
Macfrut is organized by Cesena Fiera and held at the Rimini Expo Centre on May 10-12, 2017.